Editor: This article is contributed by Jonathan Waddingham who is the social and labs product manager at an online platform for charity giving, JustGiving. He specialises in social media integration, digital strategy and online fundraising and is a regular contributor to JustGiving’s blog, We Make Giving Social, which explores social giving. 

Here and here are the two previous ones of this series.

Social Images

Optimising images on social networks

We hold a world of communication in our hands with our smartphones, tablets and everyday computers. As technology continues to develop, not only does this have a significant impact on who we can reach but it also changes how we can reach them. With the ability to capture and share media content with communities all over the world, it’s no wonder that social media is now a hive of image activity, with a reported 350 million photos uploaded daily to Facebook and image networks Instagram and Pinterest. There are 200 million combined users actively sharing images on social media channels, and the impact of this is now so profound that brands view images as a vital form of content for reaching and engaging with fans. In response to this, network giants Facebook and Twitter update their features regularly to further accommodate images in new and interesting ways. As such, charities should take note to improve their social channels.

As similar to company profiles, official charity Facebook and Twitter pages should seriously consider the impact of their profile photos and header images, in addition to actively including multimedia within their content streams to really engage with supporters and fundraisers.

Profile Photos

Whilst most charities opt for a recognisable logo as their profile picture, others may choose aspirational images that tell more of a story about the cause and its supporters. Irrespective of the type of image chosen to associate with charity profiles, it’s important that thought is given to how profile images will appear as thumbnails, as they are likely to be compressed. By providing images that are easily recognisable, relatively simple and taken with at least a 400 pixel width, charities needn’t worry. Although generally, the higher the image resolution, the more professional images appear.

Cover Images

Similarly with header images, the photo chosen should positively promote a charity’s key messages and should be of a high resolution. Updating these regularly should keep current supporters interested in a charity’s feed and encourage them to act according to the message a header may convey. For example, aspirational header images may invoke aspirational thoughts associated with the charity in a user, much the same as a header image with fundraising event details may encourage users to consider participating and sharing the image across their personal networks.

Embedding Content

As images and videos can now be embedded within news streams on both Facebook and Twitter, users can view multimedia content types without hassle; therefore it’s vital that image assets and videos chosen are of the highest quality. With a wealth of multi-media content to contend with, striking images and short, witty captions accompanying video links can really help media assets to stand out in feeds and encourage interaction from supporters.

Ultimately, images and media content should be viewed as a positive enhancement to charities’ social profiles and, whilst there are best practice examples available, different charities will have success with different types of images. Providing that images are selected with the charity’s key message and supporters in mind, they are likely to be well received and will in turn help to increase the charity’s profile.